06.19.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now!

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com

Quotes:

Sometimes the interruption is the assignment. #furtick

As we work, God works. The more we surrender ourselves to him, the more we position ourselves to be used by him. #denison

Our nation and world will be changed. One person at a time. For the glory of His Name! #lotz

When you realize He sacrificed to give us life, you will start to say how can I sacrifice to give other people life? #keller

FYI:

1. 13 Ways You Can Equip Parents to Lead Their Children Spiritually… http://childrensministry.com/articles/equipping-parents/?utm_source=internal_children’s_ministry_resource&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=

  1. When someone says Christianity is intolerant…https://beardeddisciple.com/2017/05/30/christianity-is-intolerant/?utm_content=buffer35802&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
  1. 10 Toxic Behaviors That Will Ruin Your Small Group… http://www.ibelieve.com/slideshows/10-toxic-behaviors-that-will-ruin-your-small-group.html
  1. 12 YouTube Challenges Your Kid Already Knows About (See below)

Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org

The #1 Surprising Thing Your Church Needs to Know About Gen Z by Ron Powell

Child Behavior: When Nothing Else Works, Consider These 7 Strategies by Gary Direnfeld (Has good insight about behavior in general!)

How to Correct a Student’s Negative Perception by Tim Elmore

Why Porn Might Bring Down This Generation of Young People and My Child Was Caught Viewing Porn! What Do I Do? by Jim Burns

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.youthworker.com/mini-movies/66448/discover-the-kingdom

http://www.youthworker.com/mini-movies/67142/fools-gold

Here are 2 just for you:

How to Add Value to Others

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.” Matthew 4:23

When people think about you, do they say to themselves, “My life is better because of that person”?  Their response probably answers the question of whether you are adding value to them.  To succeed personally, you must try to help others.  That’s why Zig Ziglar says, “You can get everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want.” How do you do that? How can you turn your focus from yourself and start adding value to others? You can do it by:

  1. Putting others first in your thinking.
  2. Finding out what others need.
  3. Meeting that need with excellence and generosity.

Passing the Trust Test

“Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds, but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.”  Proverbs 28:16 (The Message)

People today are desperate for leaders, but they want to be influenced by someone they can trust, a person of good character. If you want to become someone who can positively influence other people:

  1. Model consistency of character. Solid trust can only develop when people can trust you all the time
  2. Employ honest communication. To be trustworthy, you have to be like a good musical composition: your words and music must match.
  3. Value transparency. If you’re honest with people and admit your weaknesses, they appreciate your honesty. And they are able to relate to you better.
  4. Exemplify humility. People won’t trust you if they see that you are driven by ego, jealousy, or the belief that you are better than they are.
  5. Demonstrate your support of others. Nothing develops or displays your character better than your desire to put others first.
  6. Fulfill your promises. One of the fastest ways to break trust with others is in failing to fulfill your commitments.

12 YouTube Challenges Your Kid Already Knows About by Christine Elgersma

commonsensemedia.org

It’s a tale as old as time: We see a lot of people wearing/doing/saying something and we want to try it, too. Back in the day, it was saying “Bloody Mary” into a mirror at slumber parties. Today, it means viral social media stunts. Though adults get caught up, too, kids are especially susceptible to peer pressure and FOMO (fear of missing out). To them, what was once a double-dog dare is now a popular YouTuber eating a hot pepper just to see what happens.

Called “challenges,” these stunts range from harmless to horrifying: There are the silly ones (such as the Mannequin Challenge); the helpful ones (like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge); and the slightly risky ones (such as the Make Your Own Slime Challenge). But sometimes, challenges are downright dangerous, resulting in physical injury — and possibly even death. So what’s a parent to do?

Below are some of the hottest challenges that have swept social media; some fade and then make a comeback. In most cases, kids are watching these challenges on YouTube purely for entertainment, but some challenges inspire kids to try them out themselves. (In fact, the safe ones can be fun for families to try.) Others — like the Backpack Challenge — are often done with the goal of filming other kids and broadcasting the results online. While there could be a new one as soon as tomorrow, they do seem to fall into certain categories, and there’s some universal advice that parents can follow, no matter the challenge.

Funny

Try Not to Laugh Challenge. Popularized by YouTubers like Markiplier, this trend involves watching short, funny videos and trying not to laugh. It’s simple and harmless, though there’s often a lot of laughing at others’ expense.

Whisper Challenge. You may have seen this one on Jimmy Fallon: One person wears headphones playing loud music. The other person says a phrase out loud, and the one listening to music tries to read their lips and repeat the phrase. Hilarity ensues.

Mannequin Challenge. A group of people gets together, poses, and freezes in place, and someone with a camera walks around recording the scene while music plays. Even celebrities have gotten in on this one, including Michelle Obama, Ellen, and Adele.

Food

Eat It or Wear It Challenge. This one takes some prep: Put some different foods in separate bags and number them. A player chooses a number, checks out the food, and decides to eat it or wear it. If they eat it, they can dump the remainder on another player’s head. If they choose to wear it … you can guess what happens. Other than a huge mess (and food allergies), this one is low-risk.

Hot-Pepper Challenge. You can probably guess: Eat a super hot pepper — like a habanero or a ghost pepper — while you film yourself suffering and chugging milk to try to stop the burning. Though most people get through it unscathed, there have been a few reports of people ending up at the hospital.

Cinnamon Challenge. Eat a spoonful of cinnamon, sputter and choke, and record the whole thing for others to enjoy. Again, though there may be some temporary discomfort, most kids won’t get hurt — but some have.

Physical

Bottle-Flipping Challenge. Partly fill a plastic water bottle and toss it in such a way that it lands right-side up. This one got so popular they made apps to replicate the experience!

Backpack Challenge. This one’s a little like running a gauntlet. One person runs between two rows of people who try to hit you with heavy backpacks. The goal is to make it to the end without falling down … but no one ever does. Of course, it’s easy for kids to get hurt doing this.

Kylie Lip Challenge. Oh, Kylie Jenner — and her lips. In an effort to replicate them, kids would put a shot glass over their mouths, suck in, and make their lips swell artificially. Not only can it cause damage, but it also can be an indicator of body insecurities and the emulation of impossible beauty standards.

Frightening

Choking/Fainting/Pass-Out Challenge. To get high or faint, kids either choke other kids, press hard on their chests, or hyperventilate. Obviously, this is very risky, and it has resulted in death.

Salt and Ice Challenge. If you put salt and ice on your skin, it causes burns, so the purpose of this trend is to endure it for as long as possible.

Blue Whale Challenge. Of all these challenges, this one is the scariest and the most mysterious: Over the course of 50 days, an anonymous “administrator” assigns self-harm tasks, like cutting, until the 50th day, when the participant is supposed to commit suicide. It is rumored to have begun in Russia, and there were reports that suicides were tied to the trend, but those are unverified and likely not true. Apps related to the Blue Whale Challenge were said to appear and were then removed. The biggest concern is teens who are at risk and may be susceptible to trends and media about suicide because even if the challenge began as an isolated incident or hoax, it could become real.

What to Do

Talk about it. Though we can’t always be with our tweens and teens to prevent dangerous behavior, our words really can stay with them. Say, “If you ever want to do an internet challenge, check with me first.”

Get them to think. Help your kid think through the challenges and whether they’re safe or have potential risks. Say, “Walk through each step and figure out where things could go wrong.”

Acknowledge peer pressure. Today’s kids think of internet personalities as their peers, so seeing kids on YouTube doing a challenge could influence your kid. Say, “Why do you want to do this? Is this a video of yourself that you really want out in the world?”

Stay (somewhat) up to date. Ask your kid about what’s happening in their lives when they’re not distracted — even when it seems like they don’t want you to. Sometimes kids are more willing to talk about what’s going on with other kids than with themselves, so pose questions about friends, school, and trends. Once the conversation is open, you can get a sense of what your kid thinks about the latest craze — and if they’re safe. Keep an open mind and intervene if you’re concerned. Say, “Would you consider doing a viral stunt if someone asked you? Which ones would you do and not do?”

Model responsible online habits. Some parents are the ones recording their kids taking these challenges, so make sure your involvement sends the message you intend. Today it might be harmless, but tomorrow it might be more dangerous. Help your kids make the distinction so they can stay safe. Say, “Let’s do a funny challenge together, but we’ll only film it if you want to, and we’ll only share it with family.”

Blessings, Kendall

06.19.17

The #1 Surprising Thing Your Church Needs to Know About Gen Z by Ron Powell

youthministryunleashed.com

Gen Z is upon us and if we confuse these students with Millennials we’re going to miss out on connecting with them and touching their hearts.

As James White tells us in Meet Generation Z, “If the heart of the Christian mission is to evangelize and transform culture through the centrality of the church, then understanding that culture is paramount.”

So sure, they have been brought up by the biggest generation of adults claiming no religious affiliation, and they are the first group considered post-Christian but what is the most surprising thing about this cohort of students?

The #1 Thing

We know also that they have grown up in a snapchat world of weekly terrorist attacks, gay marriage, and legalization of marijuana but what is at the heart of GenZ that needs to be understood and approached differently than previous generations? “They aren’t merely secularized. They’re not thinking about religion and rejecting it; they’re not thinking about it at all.”

That’s Right. The God Question isn’t Relevant. So what is? 

…The human condition. All research points out that in the absence of the God question, the human question is close to their hearts. How should we live on this planet (and Mars when we get there)?

In one way they aren’t waiting for God to solve world problems so they are looking at what can be done. Sadly, they will realize that they can do only so much without God. Also, they won’t have a solution for their own human failings.

Introduce them to the Jesus they Never Knew

With only the vaguest concept of God, GenZ can approach Jesus fresh. They can see him as someone who did something about human suffering and religious oppression. They don’t see him through the lens of boring church rituals or their parent’s God.

We need to let them know that, “When you see Jesus you’re looking at God. When you want to know what God is like, look at what Jesus did and said!”

Community Before Commitment, Service before Salvation

They are less concerned if God loves them that if you or I love them. Starved from genuine acceptance they want to be part of a small group of close friends that loves uncritically. Unsure they will be looking for constant affirmation. Only after standing that test will they be interested in the content of our faith.

A possible scenario is that we invite them to be part of a team building a house in Mexico before they have faith in Christ. We may have to change some of the screening criteria for our trips and other social justice initiatives. Groups that are constantly trying to prove that we can be Christians and still have fun won’t have much to offer Z.

A Reason for Hope

At the end of a retreat, a student asked me, “All weekend you have been telling me that Jesus died for my sin… How did he die?” His brother yelled at him, “It was a cross, stupid.” Every week I hear another story like this from youth workers and my students at Vanguard College.

Why does this give me hope? Maybe I’m too much of an optimist but I believe that when students have been loved by a group and they’re ready to hear about Jesus the power of the Gospel won’t be warped by years of negative religious experience. I’m excited to see Z will do with an encounter with the real Jesus instead of second-hand knowledge of a religious one.

06.12.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Show me a way to get more things done with my time. When you arrive in the morning begin at once on No. 1 and stay on it until it is completed. Recheck your priorities, then begin with No. 2 . . . then No. 3. Make this a habit every working day. #maxwell
 
Knowing someone’s story wrecks your ability to judge them. #acuff
 
The Christian living a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ is fearless, regardless of the situation. #chandler
 
 
FYI:
 
3. My Child Doesn’t Believe in God. Now What?… http://www.christianparenting.org/articles/child-doesnt-believe-god-now/?utm_source=Christian+Parenting&utm_campaign=8cabb73999-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_08&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_64355cce23-8cabb73999-273558069&mc_cid=8cabb73999&mc_eid=a5401c43e5
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
6 Reasons Your Teen’s Life is More Stressful Than Your Own by John Nicholls
Ten Ideas to Build Confidence in Teens by Tim Elmore (I thought there was some good stuff in here for core group time!)
How to Pass Your Faith to Your Kids by Jim Burns (Obviously for parents… but still good for us!)
How to Undo Our Biggest Mistake in Leading Students by Tim Elmore
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 

SHARK SIGHTINGS! by Kurt Johnston

We should have seen it coming.

A few years ago something new began to happen. Sightings and rumors of close encounters with juvenile great white sharks along the local beaches here in Orange County, California began happening from time to time. Not to worry, we were told. After all, “juvenile” sharks are relatively harmless and pose no serious threat.

Fast forward a few years. Shark sightings have become a fairly common occurrence, and a couple of weeks ago the unthinkable happened: A female surfer was attacked by a 15-foot adult great white shark at a local surf spot…the same place I’ve surfed since I was a teenager.

We should have seen it coming.

In an interesting way, this whole scenario reminds me about youth ministry. Specifically, the tendency I have to notice something that seems amiss, or has potential to cause problems down the line yet I chose to ignore it in the hopes that it’s relatively harmless and poses no serious threat. And more often than not, I end up getting “shark bit” a few weeks, months or years down the road by the very problem I should have seen coming.

YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT…

You should have seen it coming.

I’d like to give you a homework assignment before the busyness of summer kicks in. Take a look around your ministry for a few juvenile great white sharks. Small, seemingly harmless, threats to your ministry that you’ve ignored up to this point. Identify them and jot down a timeline and plan for addressing each one as soon as possible.

After all…juvenile sharks are easier to deal with than 15-footers.

What Is A Christ-Centered Life?

“Christ-Centered” – it’s a phrase we love to use. It’s probably in the mission statement of your church and in the title of a book you own.

But “Christ-Centered” is a lot easier to talk about than to live, isn’t it? In the mundane moments of everyday life, a lot of other things compete with Christ for center stage.

Today I want to share four words that have helped mold my understanding of what a Christ-centered life looks like.

1. SOURCE

A Christ-centered life begins with realizing that the source of everything we are is the Lord. He created us, he owns us, he gifted us with talents, he authors our story, and every blessing that we receive comes from him (Gen 1, Acts 17:26, James 1:17)

Additionally, Christ is the source for our daily righteousness. We have no internal desire or moral ability to live up to biblical standards on our own, but in Christ, we have everything we need for godly living (2 Pet 1:3).

2. MOTIVE

A Christ-centered life means that a Person is the motivation for everything we think, say and do. Many of us leave little room for Christ in our Christianity. By that, I mean that our ability to “keep the law” or our pride in historic tradition is what defines our faith, not the person of Jesus.

Is your Christianity intimate and personal? Do you want to know Christ? (Phil 3:10) Do you want to be part of his work? Do you want to please him? Do you want to incarnate his character? A Christ-centered life is deeply intimate and motivated by relationship.

3. GOAL

A Christ-centered life has one ultimate goal: that Jesus gets the glory. It’s not wrong to pursue personal goals, but the glory of Christ is the orienting compass that gives direction to all others.

Because we want Christ to be known, honored, worshipped and obeyed, we submit every other attainable goal to him. Our decisions are no longer controlled by selfish desires, but by new desires we get from his love (2 Cor 5:14-15).

4. HOPE

A Christ-centered life finally puts all our eggs in the basket of the Lord. We know that this life is not all there is, and that an eternity is coming (1 Cor 15:19, Rev 21:4).

But a Christ-centered life is more than just a ticket out of hell. We have hope in the here and now, because Christ has promised his presence and grace until we go home.

Ask yourself: is my life Christ-centered?

Is Christ my source for life? Is he the motivation for everything I do? Is his glory my goal? Is he my hope, both for today and for eternity?

Like I said at the beginning, a lot competes for center stage in our hearts. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus accepts us and forgives us when he is not at the center.

Our Savior patiently walks with us and fights for us as we progress to make him the main focus of our life!

Blessings, Kendall

06.12.17

How to Pass Your Faith to Your Kids by Jim Burns

homeword.com

With all the great children and youth programs within churches today, many parents allow churches to “take the wheel” when it comes to their kids’ spiritual development while they take a more passive role. We can easily become convinced that it’s the church’s job to help our kids grow spiritually, not ours. Yet, guess what? God specifically places the responsibility for nurturing a child’s spiritual development on parents — not the church! In the Bible, in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, we read, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” While our churches serve to partner with us in this great task of spiritually nurturing our kids, God has given us — parents — both the responsibility and the tremendous opportunity to pass our faith to our kids. Still, I understand that many parents find it hard to talk to their kids about God and spiritual issues. So, here are some practical suggestions about how to get started.

1) Be yourself. You don’t need a seminary degree to talk to your kids about God. So, be yourself! Share your understanding of who God is and why God matters to you — in a way that reflects the real you.

2) Don’t limit your conversations on spiritual matters to Sunday morning! This is not to say that Sunday morning is off-limits for spiritual discussions, but don’t get caught in the trap of compartmentalizing faith issues to the days your family attends church services. Let your kids know that spiritual issues are important in your life all the time! This is exactly what the quote from Deuteronomy is talking about: talking about God when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up! Spirituality is to be part of an ongoing discussion in our homes, with our families!

3) Let your kids catch you in the act of doing something spiritual. Do you have a regular devotional time — where you read the Bible and pray — that you spend with God? Do your kids know it? How about letting your kids “see” you engaging in your own spiritual disciplines? Don’t forget that your actions will teach your kids a lot about your faith — probably even more than your words!

4) Look for natural opportunities to raise spiritual issues. This takes intentional work by parents to be on the lookout for opportunities “along the road” of life, where issues almost beg to be discussed in light of our Christian commitment and faith. Many opportunities will arise as your kids watch you live life. How do you, for example, demonstrate your faith when some jerk cuts you off on the highway? Perhaps, depending on your reaction, this may be a time to discuss the issues of revenge or forgiveness!

5) Take the posture of a “fellow-learner” as opposed to that of a “teacher.” Being a “fellow-learner” takes the pressure off you to send the message that you “know it all” (and your kids will already know this isn’t true). When discussing spiritual issues, you will most likely hear a question from your adolescent that you can’t answer. It’s fine to say, “I don’t know. Let’s work on finding the answer together.”

6) Utilize media to launch discussions about God and the Christian life. While much of today’s media is negative in its influence and portrayals of values, it can provide a launching pad for discussion of how Christian values compare to whatever is seen, heard, or read.

7) Have a plan for family devotional and prayer times. First, find a devotional book. Then, create a plan (daily, weekly, at certain mealtimes for example) and stick to it. Build the habit so your kids learn, “this is what we do as a family.”

8) Have fun with your kids! Unfortunately, too many kids are taught through role modeling of their parents and other adults at church, that Christianity means being grumpy and bored. Perhaps one of the most spiritual things you can do for your kids’ spiritual growth is to model for them that the Christian life is filled with love, peace, and joy! So, plan intentionally fun times for your family. Let them know that the Christian life can be fun!

9) Get involved in ministry together as a family. The call to Christ is the call to serve. You can communicate a lot about your faith in Christ by your willingness to serve; by being involved in ministry. For years, successful youth ministries have known that getting kids involved in ministry and service results in spiritual growth and in bonding together the youth group community. Do you know what? The same benefits will occur within families when they serve together!

10) Disciple and equip your kids. Actively participate in teaching your kids about God and what living the Christian life looks like. Why not do a weekly Bible study together with your son or daughter? Ask your children’s pastor, youth pastor, or leaders for ideas for Bible study material. They’ll never be able to use all the materials that are available to them, and they’ll be thrilled to help you!

06.05.17

Hi! Happy June!! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send any prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Preaching is not only explaining the text but also using it to engage the heart. #keller
 
God put you here to glorify Him. That is why you’re here. And there will come a point in your life when you will realize that life is more about significance than it is about success. #laurie
 
Someone will always have better coffee, music, facilities, and speaking. Showcase Christ and his gospel. No one can improve on that. #wilson
 
FYI:

1. Connecting with college students over break: they’re bringing home more than their laundry…. https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/connecting-with-college-students?utm_source=E-Journal+%2F+Parent+Update&utm_campaign=19db082c32-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e88a54a953-19db082c32-312895925

2. Your kids actually want you to talk to them about sex… http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/24/health/sex-parents-talking-to-kids/index.html

3. What Screen Time and Screen Media Do To Your Child’s Brain and Sensory Processing Ability… https://handsonotrehab.com/screen-time-brain-sensory-processing/

4. 45 AWESOME DROP OF THE HAT ACTIVITIES (Below)
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
How to Teach Junior Highers Without Losing Your Mind by Kurt Johnston
Social Media Making Millennials Less Social by Uptin Saiidi
How We Got Here: Spiritual and Political Profiles of America by David Kinnaman
7 Deadly Sins of Student Ministry Volunteers by Chase Snyder
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.videosforyouth.com/mini-movies/65332/searching-for-truth
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Courage by Chuck Swindoll
 
Someone once wrote, “Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap your character. Sow your character, reap your destiny.”

Standing tall when tested takes courage—constant, relentless, never-give-up courage! You can be sure that the old flesh will fight for its arousal and satisfaction. All it takes is a little rationalization—just a little. Just look the other way. Just shrug it off. Don’t sweat it. And before long you have a rattlesnake in your sleeping bag. 

First: Standing tall starts with the way we think. It has to do with the mind. As I’ve said so often, being a person of inner strength is really a mental factor. It has to do with the way we think about God, ourselves, and others. Then it grows into the way we think about business, the way we think about dating, the way we think about marriage and the family, the way we think about the system that is designed to destroy faith and bring us down to a lower standard. 

Second: Standing tall calls for strong discipline. This has to do with the will. Disciplining the eyes, the ears, the hands, the feet. Keeping moral tabs on ourselves, refusing to let down the standards. People of strength know how to turn right thinking into action—even when insistent feelings don’t agree. 

Third: Standing tall limits your choice of personal friends. This has to do with relationships. What appears harmless can prove to be dangerous. Perhaps this is as important as the other two factors combined. Cultivate wrong friendships and you’re a goner. This is why we are warned not to be deceived regarding the danger of wrong associations. Without realizing it, we could be playing with fire. 

Sow the wind and, for sure, you’ll reap the whirlwind. Eagles may be strong birds, but when the wind velocity gets fierce enough, it takes an enormous amount of strength to survive. Only the ultrapowerful can make it through the whirlwind.

 

The Five RE’s to Remembering names:

1. Repeat Names

Repetition builds memory. This is why your math teacher assigned you 50 of the same math problems for homework every night. The more you repeat a person’s name, the better chance you will have of remembering it later.

When you meet a person for the first time, say their name as much as possible. “Cool, Austin. Glad you are here, Austin. It was nice meeting you, Austin. Hope to see you next week, Austin.” The more you say it, the more it will stick.

2. Read Names

Read a person’s name in your mind. Visualize it. Spell it in your head. If you meet someone with an interesting name or a name that could be spelled multiple ways, ask them how they spell it. Then spell it in your head along with them. This may seem weird, but it works.

I can remember the names of hundreds of NFL athletes even though I have never met them or seen most of their faces without a helmet on. Why? Because I read their names every day on my favorite NFL news site.

3. Record Names

Keep a church database, or an app with people’s names on it. After the service, write new names down as soon as possible. Add little notes like “Natalie – married, two kids, husband Jeff, works at…”

Quickly review your notes once a week and picture the people in your mind. If you have a church database with people’s pictures, that is even better!

4. Relate Names

This is the most powerful memory tip on the list. When you hear a person’s name, find an image to relate it to.

In the fascinating book, Moonwalking With Einstein, Joshua Foer writes about his experience transforming in one year from an average guy who was bad at remembering names to winning the US Memory Championship. This is a competition where you have to do things like look at a list of hundreds of names and faces, then remember all the names of each face.

“The secret to success in the names-and-faces event—and to remembering people’s names in the real world—is simply to turn Bakers into bakers—or Foers into fours. Or Reagans into ray guns. It’s a simple trick, but highly effective.” ~Joshua Foer, Moonwalking With Einstein

Our brains remember images, not words. So turning a person’s name into an image is the best way to instantly recall it. The more vivid and bizarre the image, the better.

5. Remember to Remember Names

I know, “Thank you captain obvious!” Just hear me out.

Most often, the reason that we don’t remember names is simply because we do not consciously make an effort. We hear the name, but we are too busy thinking about what we are going to say next. Maybe we are preoccupied with the stress of the service or what we have to do later. Whatever the reason, we don’t intentionally listen to the name and make a conscious effort to store it away.

If you are intentional about remembering people’s names, you will remember them.

Hope these tips are helpful for you.

 

HERE ARE 45 AWESOME DROP OF THE HAT ACTIVITIES THAT YOU CAN EASILY ADD TO YOUR YOUTH WORKER TOOL-BELT.

RANDOM FUN

  • Beanboozled. Russian Roulette with candy. Maybe you will enjoy a peach-flavored jelly bean or maybe it will taste like barf. Yum.
  • KAP IT. Water bottle flipping game, but with objectives and boundaries!
  • HEADS OR TAILS. A coin flipping game where kids guess by putting their hands on the head or tail. Guess right and stay in, guess wrong and you’re out!
  • HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES, CUP! Follow the instructions and be the first person to grab the cup.
  • Minute to win it! Sixty seconds to complete takes using random items from around the house. HERE ARE 30 EXAMPLES.
  • Giant cup stack. Play the cup stack game but consider giant cups or buckets. Fastest stacker wins.
  • Mannequin challenge. Have the children freeze in place while you play a worship song and capture the video.

TEACHING OR REVIEW

  • TRUE/FALSE CHAIR. Think musical chairs but with true and false questions!
  • Books of the Bible team challenge. Books are listed on craft sticks in baggies. one for OT one for NT. Challenge each team to put one set in order the fastest.
  • Globe beach balls. Pass the ball around and wherever your thumb lands, pray for them.
  • Tic tac toe review. Divide the class into 2 teams. Ask questions, team 1 tries to answer. If they are correct, they get the x, if wrong, the question goes to team 2. The first team to get 3 in a row wins.
  • Family feud. Play with whatever you were talking about in large group.
  • Review game or Bible trivia. Get bean bags that you toss and the kids race to pick up the bag and bring it back to you in order to answer the question.
  • Share missionary stories. Update the kids on what the church is doing overseas.
  • Bible drill.

GET THEM MOVING

  • Freeze dance. Play music while the kids dance and when the music pauses all the kids must freeze in place. If they take too long then they have to do 10 jumping jacks.
  • CHICKEN IN THE HEN HOUSE. Partners will make shapes using their body. Last to complete are out!
  • Impossible shot. Create a very challenging challenge for students to take turns trying.
  • SHIP SHORE. Very similar to Simon says but directionally focused.
  • Musical chairs.
  • Four corners. Use a mega dice or colors to switch things up!
  • Simon says / Jesus says. Follow the directions and the more the leader laughs the more fun this game will be for the kids.
  • Red light/green light or wax museum. Don’t let the game leader see you moving! 
  • Crows & cranes. The leader calls out either “Crows” or “Cranes.” This lets you know if you are the tagger or the person being tagged.
  • Indoor snowball fight. Either buy fake snowballs or wrinkle up paper and throw them at each other. Consider adding a twist like capture the flag or protect the president.
  • Hip hop to it! Have all the kids hop on one leg while playing Christian hip-hop. If they stop they are out, if they switch feet they are out. The winner is the last one hopping.

GET THEM QUIET

  • SILENT BALL. Leader counts down, “3, 2, 1, silent” and passes the ball to another person in the play area. Drop the ball, make a bad pass or make a sound and you’re out.
  • Guess the time. Choose a time like 60 seconds and everyone tries to guess how long that is. Start the timer and kids hop up when they think 60 seconds is over. Time doesn’t stop till last kid stands. Note time when first kid stands just to get reactions.
  • SLEEPING LIONS. The room of kids go to sleep and the lions try to get them to wake up by telling jokes or being silly. Anyone who wakes up becomes the lion.
  • DOGGIE, DOGGIE, WHO STOLE YOUR BONE. Similar to heads up seven up but with an object that the kids go get.
  • The Quiet Game. Teams have to sit absolutely still and quiet for a timed period. Anywhere from a minute to five minutes.

COMMUNITY BUILDING

EASY CLASSROOM GAMES

  • Pictionary.
  • Hangman.
  • Parachute games.
  • I spy.
  • Rock, paper, scissors and creative variations. Egg, chicken, eagle.
  • Relay Games.
  • Feather blowing competition. Kids try to blow one another’s feathers off a table using a straw.
  • Juggling contest.
  • Keep the balloon up.

Consider using lesson review words or phrases in these games.

06.05.17

How We Got Here: Spiritual and Political Profiles of America by David Kinnaman
barna.org

A recent national survey by Barna reveals how America’s five dominant faith segments think—and, importantly, how they differ in meaningful ways when it comes to their views on some of the most contentious political and spiritual issues of the day.

Understanding these five “faith tribes” is important because most reported research relies upon a description of the population’s central tendencies—that is, an average belief or behavior. But sometimes these percentages mask a jumble of perspectives which, though they are outliers compared to the average Americans’, can ultimately have an impact on elections. The cultural gridlock and angst that have characterized the past few years, and particularly the unconventional nature of the 2016 presidential election, may well be the result of the nation’s tribes becoming even more divided and incapable of conversing across those differences.

Barna’s work continues to demonstrate that core religious beliefs and practices are among the primary elements that influence people’s political activities and beliefs. Here’s what Barna has learned about the will of our nation’s core faith segments. (For definitions of each segment, please refer to About the Research at the end of this article.)

1. Evangelical Christians
One of the most talked-about faith segments in the 2016 election was evangelicals. While they are distinct in their political habits, there are multiple nuanced interpretations of what it means to be evangelical, including Barna’s own narrow definition of this group (read more about this criteria). Despite the prolific media coverage they receive, evangelicals are merely 6 percent of the adult population, according to Barna’s definition. They tend to be older than the other four faith tribes and have been for the past two decades. Ethnically, a little over half of evangelicals (52%) are white, with 16 percent being black, 11 percent Hispanic and 2 percent Asian.

Most evangelicals describe themselves as conservative, fiscally (69%) and socially (79%). Seven out of 10 (71%) take a conservative view of the optimal size and reach of government. Given those views, it is not surprising that more than eight out of 10 (84%) say they are pro-life advocates. Seven out of 10 (69%) admit they are angry about the current state of America. Half (50%) support the Tea Party movement—at least double the proportion of supporters found in any of the other faith tribes.

Less than two out of 10 (18%) say they could be described as an environmentalist. The same proportion are supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement (18%). Only one out of every 25 says that they are an advocate of LGBT rights (4%). Less than one out of 10 (9%) are willing to engage in civil disobedience. All of these stances are perhaps to be expected, but evangelicals do refute one stereotype: that of being part of a heavily armed “radical right.” In fact, seven out of 10 (69%) do not own a gun.

An obvious lean to the right is consistent with their spiritual moorings. Evangelicals are the only faith segment for which a majority (70%) consider themselves to be theologically conservative. Nearly nine out of 10 (86%) believe in the existence of absolute moral truth, and almost all (98%) support traditional moral values. By definition, they strongly affirm that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches, contend that they have a responsibility to share their religious beliefs with others and believe that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful ruler of the world that he created. They also universally reject the idea that Jesus Christ sinned during his time on earth and believe that Satan is a living being, not merely a symbol of evil.

2. Non-Evangelical Born Again Christians
Non-evangelical born again Christians outnumber evangelicals by almost a four-to-one ratio. They currently represent about one-quarter of the adult population (23%), but their numbers have been declining rapidly over the past decade. Two-thirds (66%) of this segment is white, while black (15%) or Hispanic (14%) individuals comprise about one-seventh each. Four percent of this segment is Asian.

This segment is less conservative and less traditional than evangelicals. Slight majorities of the non-evangelical born again Christians describe themselves as conservative on fiscal issues (56%) and social issues (59%). A mere plurality holds a conservative point-of-view on governance issues (41%).

Evangelicals and the non-evangelical born again groups have one critical faith element in common: the confession of their sins and asking Christ to forgive and save them. Even so, the latter group is closer to an ideological mid-point. Twice as many in this segment call themselves environmentalists (37%), twice as many say they support the Black Lives Matter community (36%), and seven times as many claim to be advocates for LGBT rights (27%).

However, they are not exactly political progressives. Nearly two-thirds (63%) identify as pro-life advocates. They also have the highest percentage of gun owners (37%) of all five faith tribes. More than six out of 10 (62%) note that they are angry about the current state of America. A huge majority (87%) says they support traditional moral values.

Their religious views also bear out this more moderate perspective, even though a majority of non-evangelical born agains claim to be theologically conservative. While seven out of 10 believe that absolute moral truth exists, just over half (55%) firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches. And despite the fact that nine out of 10 believe that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful ruler of the world that he created, a minority rejects the idea that Jesus Christ sinned during his time on earth (43%) or believes that Satan is not a symbol but truly lives today (35%). Fewer than one-third of this group (31%) contends they have a responsibility to share their religious beliefs with those who think differently.

3. Notional Christians
The largest portion of Christians in America falls into the notional segment. Unlike either evangelicals or the non-evangelical born again Christians, these adults have not made a commitment to Christ that they believe will guarantee their eternal salvation. Notionals represent the largest of these five faith segments—four out of 10 U.S. adults (42%)—equating to about six out of every 10 Americans who claim to be Christian, and about 45 percent more numerous than the other two Christian niches combined. Fully seven out of 10 notional Christians (70%) are white. Black and Hispanic notionals make up 13 percent each, and Asians 3 percent.

Notionals have some standout characteristics, in that they:

  • Are the only Christian-oriented faith segment from which a plurality aligns with the Democratic Party
  • Are the only Christian-oriented faith segment that does not have a majority who claim to be conservative on fiscal and social issues
  • Are the only Christian-oriented faith segment that does not have a majority who claim to be pro-life advocates, although a large minority (46%) classify themselves as such
  • Have the highest percentage of any faith segment of people who have served in the military (21%)

Some progressive leanings are evident in this segment, as about four out of 10 say they support the Black Lives Matter movement (38%), claim to be an environmentalist (39%) and advocate for LGBT rights (39%).

Just three out of 10 notional Christians (30%) think of themselves as theologically conservative. This is supported by the fact that just slightly more than half of them (57%) maintain a biblically orthodox view of God; only one out of four (24%) strongly agrees that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches, just one-seventh of them (14%) insist Satan is real, and fewer than one out of every five (17%) defend the sinless nature of Jesus Christ. Fittingly, less than one out of every 10 (8%) firmly believes in salvation by grace alone. Their idea of salvation is based on earning God’s favor through good works and personal goodness.

4. Adherents of Non-Christian Faiths
This spiritually diverse faith segment includes all faith groups not associated with Christianity. Altogether, these various faiths represent 6 percent of the adult population, the same size as the evangelical Christian segment. This group also shares a similar ethnic profile with evangelicals (52% white, 16% black, 10% Hispanic), with the exception of a much larger Asian community (13%). The largest faith groups in this segment are Jews, Buddhists, Mormons and Muslims, constituting about 80 percent of Americans belonging to faiths outside biblical Christianity.

Even though 57 percent say they support traditional moral values and half say they believe in the existence of absolute moral truth (53%), they stand out from the religious crowd. They are the group least likely to own a gun (10%), and few support the Tea Party movement (13%). Just one-third (34%) are pro-life advocates.

About half of them (51%) say they support the Black Lives Matter coalition and (47%) are advocates of LGBT rights. More than four out of 10 (43%) accept the label “environmentalist.” They are the segment most prone to engage in civil disobedience (31%).

Half of this group describe themselves as liberal on social issues, and they are the only faith tribe primarily aligned with the Democratic Party (58%).

Essentially a mixture of any non-Christian faith that exists in the nation, their spiritual profile is an interesting amalgam. While some of their views are expected—such as rejecting the reliability of the Bible or refuting salvation by grace alone—their beliefs about Satan and Jesus are more in line with the non-evangelical born agains than with the more theologically middle-of-the-road notionals. (This is largely attributable to the views of Mormons and Jews.) In the end, though, one of the most telling findings is that less than half of them (43%) say that their religious faith is very important to them today, in line with the spiritually complacent notionals (39%). In other words, most of these adults admit their life is not driven or precisely defined by their set of religious beliefs.

5. Religious Skeptics
The political antithesis of evangelical Christians is the religious skeptics, who make up nearly a quarter (23%) of the population. A majority of this group is white (56%), 14 percent are Hispanic and 5 percent are Asian. Of these five faith segments, skeptics have the smallest percentage of black adults (8%).

Few of these adults describe themselves as fiscally or socially conservative. In fact, a substantial majority of them claim to be liberal on social issues (62%). Accordingly, few of these adults support causes generally associated with the conservative universe. For instance, only 9 percent of skeptics back the Tea Party, just 13 percent are pro-life advocates, and less than four out of 10 (38%) say they support traditional moral values.

What do they support? Half claim to be environmentalists (48%), and a majority are advocates of the Black Lives Matter (53%) and LGBT rights movements (66%). About six out of 10 (58%) describe themselves as angry about the current state of America (though presumably they disagree with evangelicals on the root causes of the nation’s problems).

A mere 6 percent claim to be theologically conservative. As support for that stance, the survey found that only one-quarter of them (27%) believes in absolute moral truth, and less than one out of five (18%) believe that, if there is a deity who exists, it can be described as an omnipotent, omniscient creator or ruler of the universe. Not surprisingly, less than one out of every 20 skeptics (4%) say their religious faith is very important to them today, while just one out of every 25 (2%) accepts the principles of the Bible as true.

What the Research Means
Despite some surprise over the election results, George Barna, special analyst for the 2016 election, reasons that the votes were consistent with these faith profiles. “Evangelicals were overwhelmingly behind Trump, giving him a 79 percent to 18 percent margin over Clinton. Given their political views, that makes sense. The non-evangelical born agains were solidly behind Trump, 56 percent to 35 percent, which also aligns with their views. The notionals, who tend to be more middle-of-the-road, basically split their vote between Trump and Clinton. (Read more about how notionals impacted the election.) The two non-Christian segments overwhelmingly favored Clinton. Given the liberal leanings of those two segments, and the platform of the Clinton candidacy, that also is not a surprise,” comments Barna. “Since the two Bible-driven segments represent about 30 percent of the population, as do the two non-Christian segments, that provided notionals with more influence than they normally have in an election.”

Barna points out a pattern that may affect future elections: “If the born-again constituency continues to decline, and the skeptic tribe continues its rapid growth, it will become increasingly difficult for conservative candidates to win elections. The 2016 contest may have been the last in which conservative candidates were not entering as ideological underdogs.”

About the Research
This research was conducted by the Barna Group using an online survey with a nationally representative sample of adults 18 and older. A total of 1,281 adults were interviewed, resulting in an estimated maximum sampling error for the aggregate sample of plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95-percent confidence level. (The sampling error estimate is higher for subgroups within the total sample.) The survey was completed online in two waves, fielded from November 4 through 6, 2016, and then from November 9 through 16, 2016.

The study divided respondents into five unique faith segments based on their religious beliefs. The segments were defined as follows:

Evangelicals met nine specific theological criteria. They say they have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today,” that their faith is very important in their life today; believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior; strongly believe they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; firmly believe that Satan exists; strongly believe that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; strong agree that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; strong assert that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. Being classified as an evangelical is not dependent on church attendance, the denominational affiliation of the church attended or self-identification. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as “evangelical.” They represent 6% of the adult population.

Non-evangelical born again Christians say they have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today” and believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. However, they do not accept all of the remaining seven conditions that categorize someone as an evangelical. They constitute about one-quarter of the adult population.

Notional Christians are people who consider themselves to be Christian but they have not made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today” or believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Slightly more than four out of ten adults are part of the notional Christian segment.

The Other faith segment refers to individuals who associate with a faith other than Christianity. Among the most common of those faith groups included within that segment were Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. This segment represents 6% of the US adult public.

Skeptics are individuals who describe themselves as atheist or agnostic, or who indicate that they do not believe in the existence of God or have no faith-related ties or interests. The fastest-growing of the faith segments, skeptics are currently approaching one-fifth of the adult population.

05.30.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
What matters most is what others think of Jesus. And the world judges Christ by Christians. #denison
Whatever is in first place, if it isn’t Christ alone, it is in the wrong place. #swindoll
God not only sees where you are, He sees where you can be. #jesusgraces
Satan weaves; God reweaves. #lucado
 
FYI:
1. Signs of Drug use is Teens and Tweens…https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/05/signs-drug-use-teens-tweens/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=121ace0f61-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_02_22&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-121ace0f61-126726953
 
 
3. This article is very edgy but worth the read. The Real Reason Liberal Churches are Losing Members… http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/44427-the-real-reason-liberal-churches-are-losing-members
 
4. Welcome to College (Book Q&A Below)
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
How the Last Five Generations Have Changed Us by Tim Elmore
Unreal by Marc Bain (Instagram is the most harmful social network for your mental health. Not surprising but now there are studies.)
American Say U.S. Moral Values at a Seven-Year Low by Suzanne Woolley
Netflix, TED and the Future of Preaching by Tiffany Delucca

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.videosforyouth.com/mini-movies/65079/can-you-see-it?utm_source=vfynl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=resource3&utm_campaign=nl-03/31/2017-2060475
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Follow Jesus First 
 
When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Matthew 8:18-19
Good leaders are first good followers. Do you follow the orders of Jesus? When He asks you to do the uncomfortable, do you move out of your comfort zone with confidence? Compelling Christian leadership has focused “followship” on their Master, the Lord Jesus. Where is He asking you to go that requires sacrifice and unconditional commitment? His orders do not always make sense, but they are totally trustworthy and helpful. 
When He directs you to leave the noise of the crowds for the quietness of a few, do not delay. If you are obsessed by activity, you can easily lose your edge on energy and faith. When all my oomph is consumed by serving every request and answering every call, I have no time or concentration to hear from Christ. What is He saying? This is the most important inquiry I can make. What is Jesus telling me to do? So, when I listen, I learn.
You may be in the middle of a monster season of success, so make sure your achievements do not muffle the Lord’s message. It’s when we are fast and furious that our faith becomes perfunctory and predictable. Leadership requires time alone to retool and recalibrate our character. People follow when they know you’ve been with Jesus.
The most difficult part may be the transition from doing less, to listening and thinking more. If you, as the leader, are not planning ahead, who is? Who has the best interests of the enterprise in mind? Who is defending the mission and vision of the organization so there is not a drift into competing strategies? Follow Jesus first; then He frees you to see.
 
Where is the Lord leading you to go? Will you lag behind with excellent excuses, or will you make haste and move forward by faith? Go with God and He will direct you through the storms of change. He may seem silent at times, but remember, He led you to this place, and where He leads, He provides. Follow Jesus first, then go wherever He goes. You will lose people in the process, but you will gain better people for His next phase.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” (Matthew 16:24).
Prayer: Dear Lord, I commit to follow You first with my whole hearted devotion, in Jesus’ name, amen. 
 

10 REASONS ADULTS DON’T CONNECT WITH STUDENTS

Fear keeps us from lots of things – deeper relationships, meaningful conversations and implementing risky ideas. Fear is also what keeps most adults from volunteering to serve in the youth ministry and connecting with students. When I was I youth pastor, I chose to tackle these fears head on. I made a presentation to name the most common fears of my adult volunteers and then began conversations about each one. Here’s my list:

Top Ten Fears of Adult Volunteers
10. I’m too old.
9. I’m not hip.
8. I don’t speak their language.
7. I’m too smart for this.
6. I don’t know what to say.
5. I don’t look the part.
4. I don’t know enough about the Bible.
3. I don’t want to tell students what I did in the past.
2. I can’t relate.
1. Students won’t like me.

In my presentation, I would always put a funny picture next to each fear; it served to release tension and gave me an easy opening into a somewhat challenging discussion. Remember, these fears are powerful and gripping to youth ministry volunteers, and they won’t find our quick quips or silly stories incredibly helpful. Instead, we need to communicate our own fears and give adults a chance to see themselves as students actually see them. We can do this in four ways:

1. Take volunteers back to their high school days. Ask them to think about an adult who had influence in their lives and remind them of the power of this relationship. Challenge them to think of how it shaped and molded them, whether positively or negatively. Then connect the dots for them and encourage them to be a positive influence in a student’s life.

2. Describe how a student thinks. As adults, we tend to think that students see us as equals, but, for the most part, they don’t. Students see us as larger than life, as people who have all the answers and are worry free. (Little do they know.) But what this means is that a positive and upbeat adult will always attract students. They want to know what they think we know.

“A positive and upbeat adult will always attract students. They want to know what they think we know.” 

3. Bring in a ringer. Invite someone who has had success to tell their story. Consider asking a member of your current team or someone from the congregation to come and share one of their fears and how God helped them overcome it. These personal ministry stories can be powerful for people on the front lines of ministry.

4. Focus on the results. I often find that people who are in a fight to reach a mountain top don’t end up making it because they never look up. They see the problems, but they never see the results. Ask a student to share how a relationship with an adult has made a difference, or challenge a student to communicate how they view their adult leaders. You might even share results based on what you’ve seen and heard.

As you consider going about this process, here’s one final word of caution: people don’t like to talk about their fears. If you think this isn’t a problem for your volunteers because you have never heard them talk about it, think again. Try this model of teaching at your next staff meeting and watch your volunteers’ reactions and the discussion that follows. Don’t let your fear of doing something new or different keep them from confronting their fears about serving in the youth ministry.

Welcome to College (Book Q&A)

I recently had the opportunity to ask Jonathan a few questions about his book:

J. Warner:
“Why is it important to equip young Christians for college? What makes this group different than non-Christians?”

Jonathan:
“The college years are critically important. If you get off course in high school or college, it can have life-altering consequences.

Here are clarifying questions I like to ask students, “What story do you want to tell about the college years? Someday you will walk across the graduation stage and be filled with either satisfaction or regret. Which one do you want? Eventually, you will summarize your college years in a few sentences. Why not go ahead and shape your future now?”

This final question will give students clarity. They also need to decide if they are serious about following Jesus or if they are going to drift into “playing Christian.” If they are serious about following Jesus, then they can set the destination they are pursuing early on, which will make all the difference. As Christians, we are called to more than just surviving—that’s the heart behind Welcome to College.”

J. Warner:
“What are some of the unique challenges facing young Christians when they go to college?”

Jonathan:
“College isn’t what it used to be. And many students raised in the church are not ready. You may have noticed in the news that free speech and historic Christian beliefs and values are not exactly being celebrated on campus or in our culture today.  The tyranny of tolerance is alive and well.

Depending on the survey you look at, about half of Christian students will disengage from their faith / church after they graduate high school and head off to college. If you care about the next generation as I do then this should break your heart and serve as a wakeup call that “business as usual” is not working out so well.

As I have taught and worked with high school and college students over the past 12 years I have seen a lot of different scenarios play themselves out. Here is one of the most common pathways.

A student who has a primarily emotional / sentimental faith will find it wilting very quickly in the heat of real world challenges on campus. When a student moves from one group where their childhood beliefs were the majority view to a new group where they are now in the minority view, they face significant pressure to modify or reject those “outdated” beliefs. When they have left the bubble, will they stand?

That is why we must train our students to know why they believe what they believe. It’s not a matter of if but when the challenges will come.”

J. Warner:
“How does your book help accomplish the task of preparing young people for the university experience? What is unique about your book?”

Jonathan:
Welcome to College is everything I wish I would have known during the college years. Young Christians are growing up in a culture that is deeply confused about what is right and what is true. It’s hard for them to break free from the riptide of relativism, but if you lose truth, then you lose Christianity. Period.

Students need to know how to understand, explain and defend objective truth. Without training, they will simply fall into the default settings of those around them. When the pressure is turned up and the tyranny of tolerance presses in, Christians tend to wilt if they do not have the confidence that only comes from knowing why they believe what they believe.

Essential areas they need to be ready to engage in during college: How do I know God really exists? Is truth relative? Who was Jesus, and did he rise from the dead? Can you trust the Bible in the 21st century? How do I have helpful spiritual conversations? How can Jesus be the only way to God? If God is good, then why is there so much evil? I cover these and other practical questions like dating, sex, dealing with doubt, and how to resolve conflict with roommates as well. Because Christianity is true, it applies to every area of life. So I try to cover all the main questions that students have to engage during college.

So you can read the book straight through or you can pick the topics that you are facing and start there. I have been so encouraged to hear that many youth pastors are buying copies of Welcome to College for all their high school graduates. And parents are buying the book and using the discussion questions in the back of the book to take their students through their junior and senior years of high school to get them ready.”

J. Warner:
“Where can people learn more about your work?”

Jonathan:
“As they read Welcome to College, they can visit me online at JonathanMorrow.org for more resources, podcasts and videos to help them along the way. Also, parents can send their students to spend either 2-weeks during the summer at Immersion or 9-months at our Christian Gap Year building a biblical worldview and being trained to own their faith with us here at Impact 360 Institute where I teach.”

If you’ve got a young Christian who’s getting ready to enter college, or you’re just appropriately concerned about the future of young believers, you need to read Welcome to College: A Christ-Follower’s Guide for the Journey. I cannot recommend it more highly.

05.22.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now!

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
It happens again and again, never a break, without fail, God’s mercies are fresh and new specifically given for the needs of this day. #tripp
 
We don’t have to have the perfect words to say. We can simply speak sincerely from a heart full of love. #terqeurst
 
Conviction is the place where God doesn’t only show you what needs to change, but He gives you the grace and the power to begin that change. #furtick
 
Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither. #graham
 
 
FYI:
1. 6 Questions to help students exceed expectations… https://growingleaders.com/blog/six-questions-that-help-students-exceed-expecations/?utm_source=Master+List+%28Monthly%2C+Weekly%2C+Daily%2C+Events+%26+Offers%29&utm_campaign=9eb77dc475-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b8af65516c-9eb77dc475-304414745&mc_cid=9eb77dc475&mc_eid=70da1f1f8e
 
2. Athletic options for those that don’t play team sports… https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/04/19/athletic-options-for-kids-who-have-no-interest-in-traditional-team-sports/?utm_term=.e6d2468931d4
 
3. Millennials Don’t Consider Themselves Grown Up Until They are 27… 
 
4. 40 YOUTH MINISTRY HACKS (Most probably won’t apply… but you never know… see below)
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Two Worlds to Understand When Leading Generation Z by Tim Elmore
‘Adult’ is Not a Verb by John Stonestreet
Teenagers Seeking Purpose by Mark Gregston (Blog post but good!)
Making Discipleship a Priority for Your Church by Jake Mulder (For churches but a good reminder for all of us!)
 
 
Thoroughly Prepared 
 
So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters.  The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me. Nehemiah 2:9
It is very hard to over-prepare, as most people do not struggle with over-preparation. One’s temptation is to neglect the real need of being thoroughly prepared. When you rush ahead of God, you expose yourself to the nagging details you could have intentionally prayed about and thought through. Pride tends to shun preparation, as it assumes too much and prays too little. When you take the time to prod those areas you are unsure of, you discover insights that are invaluable to success. If, on the other hand, you go off half-cocked with a Pollyannaish naïveté, you are an excellent candidate for disappointment, or even worse, failure. Irresponsible assumptions are foreign to faith because faith thoroughly prepares on one hand and humbly prays on the other.
Preparation also includes the involvement of others because you will not accomplish big things for God by yourself. Jesus didn’t. He called the Twelve to join Him. He has also placed people in your life whose hearts have been inexplicably moved to join you in this God-created opportunity. Let them in and do not be intimidated because they possess skills and experiences you don’t. Instead of lamenting the different backgrounds, personalities, and skills that surround you, celebrate them. A well-rounded variety of relationships and resources bring strength to the whole. A true team is diverse, and a secure leader accepts diversity as a key ingredient in the recipe of success.
“Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people” (Isaiah 57:14).
 
So unfetter your team from the fear of failure by giving them the freedom to try new things and to test long-held assumptions and methods. Help others prepare by removing obstacles. A team—thoroughly prepared—produces. Prayer is the most potent part of your preparation. You cannot pray too much about your methods and motives. Pray for God to be glorified and for His will to be done. Pray for His provision and resources. Pray for relationships you have yet to enter into that will become critical alliances in your God-sized project. It is through prayer that you persevere in preparation.
 
Change occurs primarily in the person praying. Their faith expands and so does their patience. Their love elevates, while their vision grows. In a phrase, their character receives an extreme makeover. Prayer is the crowning jewel of thorough preparation. Prayer gives you courage to speak boldly and the wisdom to know what to say and how to say it. Prayer holds you back when you need to wait in silence. Prayer is preparation, as it aligns you with the Almighty’s agenda. Thorough preparation is your friend. God does not waste preparation; He blesses it. Therefore, be thoroughly prepared following through with the plan with abandonment and gusto. Weave prayer throughout your preparation as if it were an intricately woven quilt, and then watch God work. Thorough preparation positions you to be used by God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for patience to prepare thoroughly and trust You wholeheartedly, in Jesus’ name, amen. 
Application: What area of my life requires additional preparation, so I am ready for the Lord’s next season of service
 

Good To Great

“Good is the enemy of great.”

That’s the opening sentence from Jim Collins’s best-selling book on corporate management, Good To Great. He writes:

“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”

What does a book on corporate management have to do with our Christian faith?

I’m persuaded that Christians settle for “the good life” when God is calling us to something great.

I don’t know about you, but more times than I would like to admit, I have found myself settling for a “good Christian life” while caring for little else in the Kingdom of God that does not directly relate to me.

Even though we attempt to stay inside of God’s boundaries, we manufacture a life where self is at the center.

We are thankful for our good marriage that we have because of Jesus. And we should be! How amazing is it that two selfish people can live in harmony with one another?

We are thankful for our good family that we have by grace. We are thankful for our good career that we have by God’s sovereignty. We are thankful for our good Christian friends who surround us.

Yes, we should celebrate and enjoy these good blessings that are ours!

But, in ways that we don’t even realize, it’s quite possible for our Christianity to culminate here.

That’s settling for good, when great has been offered.

You see, we have been chosen to transcend the boundaries of our own little plans and purposes, wants and needs. We have been called to participate in the Kingdom of God and his mission to make all things new (Revelation 21:5).

That doesn’t mean you need to abandon the good things that God has blessed you with.

Rather, it means living with a redemptive, ministry mentality in every those situations, locations, and relationships where God has placed you.

What does that look like? Here are a few examples:

  • Don’t just settle for a good marriage. How can God use you in the redemption of other marriages, or engaged couples, or divorcees, or singles?
  • Don’t just settle for a good family. How can God use you to disciple others in the wider family of Christ?
  • Don’t just settle for good career. How can God use your platform, power and influence to make a difference for his name?
  • Don’t just settle for good Christian friends. How can God use you in your neighborhood to spread the life-changing Good News of the Gospel?

Be honest with yourself and with God today: Are there ways in which you have settled for, and Christian-ized, selfish living?

Jesus rescued you from something very bad, not so you could settle for a good life, but to invite you to something eternally great!

40 YOUTH MINISTRY HACKS

  1. Keep a small stack of $5 Starbucks gift cards handy in your desk drawer to give out for encouragement.
  2. Join the Youth Ministry groups on FB & get wisdom, advice, how to’s from 1000’s other youth pastors. (Download Youth MinistryStuff You Can Use)
  3. Students attract students. Let them promote, teach, lead ministries, and host.
  4. Students know what they like better than youth pastors know. Give students input into your youth group’s physical environment.
  5. When making a decision don’t ask “Will my students like this?” ask “Will my students’ parents like this?”.
  6. Find and cling to a network of other youth pastors in your area. Youth Ministry is too hard to do alone.
  7. Always remember, students are a work in progress. When they mess up, it’s ok. You did too.
  8. Use DYM University to train your leader. It’s hard to have an above average youth ministry with only average volunteers.
  9. When with other youth pastors ask more questions about their ministry than you make statements about yours.
  10. Give your custodians a gift card and thank you after a messy night.
  11. Partner with other youth ministry para-church organizations. They are reaching students you can’t/aren’t.
  12. Get a good travel rewards credit card. Pay for your ministry supplies and trips on it. Then, take a vacation with all the points.
  13. Read something every day. If you’re not learning, you’re not leading.
  14. Buy a cheap drone for camp/retreat. Use it as a way to provide surveillance to cover the campground quickly.
  15. Do background checks for all your volunteers every year. It protects you, your students, and gives confidence to parents. Back Check is an online provider that works with most churches insurance providers.
  16. Realize you’re doing the most important and urgent job in the world. Act like it. Don’t waste time on things that don’t matter.
  17. Fully screen all the videos you ever play at youth group. Watch them through an over-protective parents lens.
  18. Use an app like Schedule Once, Doodle, or Calendy to make appts with leaders and parents. You set the times you’re available throughout the week, they choose the times.
  19. Schedule one day every month for yourself. No meetings, no prep work. Use it to pray, read, reflect.
  20. Exercise.
  21. Email parents every week. Tell them what happened last week and what is happening in the coming weeks.
  22. Use plastic cups, not styrofoam cups, when working w/ youth – they aren’t as fun to pick apart & leave the pieces all over the room.
  23. Align your youth ministry vision with the church’s vision. You are on the same team.
  24. Pray for your senior pastor every day.
  25. Just because you don’t like lock-ins doesn’t mean students don’t. You’re a youth pastor, don’t be a grinch.
  26. Post on social media while you’re going to the bathroom. It’s a sure fire way to make sure you are constantly posting on social media. No one will know.
  27. Buy a deep fryer. You can cook mozza sticks and chicken fingers in 2 minutes!
  28. Get a membership to Download Youth Ministry. You have more important things to do than reinventing the wheel each week.
  29. Rig games. There are certain students who really need a win.
  30. Convince your church to adopt certain tech (Wufoo, Dropbox, Mailchimp, Planning Centre, Buffer, EZ texting…etc) and then use it for youth ministry. That way you get the tech but it doesn’t come off your budget.
  31. Sometimes your church can’t give you a raise, but they can give you more holidays. Ask for that.
  32. Put your phone on “do not disturb” for a couple hours every day. You’ll get more done in those two hours than you will the rest of the day.
  33. Don’t run expensive events very often. Keep events over $20 to 5-6 times/year.
  34. Use Planning Centre Registrations for big events/retreats/camps. It so simple and cheap.
  35. Don’t be afraid to take up tithes/offerings at youth group. You might be a lead pastor one day and those teens will be the giving adults in your congregation.
  36. It’s ok to cancel youth group sometimes, especially if it benefits parents.
  37. Realize your youth ministry isn’t as fragile as you’re making it out to be.
  38. Use a program cheat sheet (like this) to make sure you never drop the ball.
  39. Don’t spend much time on merchandise…it almost never works the way you hope it would.
  40. Give your lead pastor the benefit of the doubt.
  41. Use “Do Not Disturb” on your phone from 9:00pm-8:00am every night/morning
Blessings, Kendall

05.22.17

Making Discipleship a Priority for Your Church by Jake Mulder

fulleryouthinstitute.org

As you approach the summer season of ministry and begin to plan for the fall, you’re likely going to work on a handful of important questions:

How can we keep our young people connected to the church?
Do I have enough leaders for our mission trip?
What should our fall calendar look like?

But in the midst of the busyness, you might lose sight of your most basic task as a leader: discipleship. Helping people love and follow Jesus in their everyday lives. I recently heard a church leader phrase the problem this way: “Our church has a generic vision of making disciples but no real strategy to make it happen.”

As Dallas Willard writes, “Non-discipleship is the elephant in the church.”[1] In other words, we spend our time focused on a myriad of activities – but we miss the main point.

To sharpen the focus of our ministries on what’s most important, I’d like to suggest three essential realities to keep top of mind this summer. If we do, I believe they will have a game-changing effect on the present and future of our churches.

1) There is a crisis of discipleship in the American church.

Perhaps you’ve been reading Dallas Willard for years. Or maybe the term moralistic therapeutic deism is part of your daily lingo. Or perhaps you have a strong sense that the beliefs of young people in your church feel watered-down, slightly off base, or flat-out incorrect. A growing number of Christian philosophers, theologians, and researchers are making the case that our churches largely miss the main message that Jesus came to live and teach.

Kenda Creasy Dean of Princeton Seminary reflects that we’ve replaced adherence to Jesus’ message with a “do-good, feel-good spirituality that has little to do with the Triune God.”[2] It’s certainly a far cry from what we hope to pass on to a younger generation.

2) Young people are drawn to churches that take discipleship seriously.

In our team’s recent study of 250 churches that are growing young, we found young people are drawn to churches that take Jesus’ message seriously. Approximately 40% of young people specifically mentioned their church is effective with teenagers and young adults because the church challenges them to follow Jesus.

In other words, young people aren’t running from a gospel that requires hard things of them, they are running toward it.

Young people aren’t running from a gospel that requires hard things of them, they are running toward it.

And what type of gospel are they running toward? Nearly 7 out of 10 young people in the churches we studied specifically mentioned Jesus when they were asked to describe the gospel.

These two data points reveal a hunger not only to understand Jesus’ message, but also to put it into practice. This is discipleship at its core—and the heart-cry of young people everywhere.

Terry, a 29-year-old in our study, said, “I think many churches have fallen into a consumer mindset as a default mode. Churches have tried to appeal to people’s desire to feel good. But the problem is, if you’re just trying to make people feel good, church isn’t going to measure up to that.”

Adam, another twentysomething, added, “The goal for our church is not really effectiveness with young people but serving and following Jesus. And young people like me are attracted to churches that want to do that.”

3) There is transformative power in asking the right questions

While the questions that began this post (as well as the dozens of other questions you need to focus on as a church leader) are important, I believe we need to carve out appropriate space for a more focused set of questions.

Dallas Willard suggests the following for those of us who preach from the pulpit, teach a class, select curriculum, or otherwise design aspects of ministry:[3]

Does the gospel I preach and teach have a natural tendency to cause people who hear it to become full-time students of Jesus?
Would those who believe it become his apprentices as a natural “next step”?
What can we reasonably expect would result from people actually believing the substance of my message?

In other words, it is crucial for us to pay attention to the long-term impact of our ministry rather than simply its immediate execution. The questions we ask our team and ourselves allow this to become a habit.

Ready to start? Try this.

As you head into summer, I invite you to carve out space for a regular team meeting (perhaps once per month) where there is only ONE item on the agenda: Making discipleship a priority.

Decide together in advance to keep this meeting free from the urgency, busyness, and competing demands of all those other important realities. Spend time in prayer, asking God to enlarge your vision for ministry. Invite the Holy Spirit to inspire you and lead you to the best decisions.

Perhaps you can reflect on the questions Dallas Willard poses above, or come up with your own set of discipleship-focused questions.

Over the next several months you’ll no doubt be asking lots of other questions and making plenty of other decisions. Create a rhythm where you reflect on those decisions in this meeting. Ask: Do the decisions we’ve made for our fall ministry year feel like they’re helping people become disciples of Jesus? Based on my experience and having walked a number of leaders through this exercise, you may be surprised how it can shape your plans.

05.15.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Jesus didn’t come to earth to make bad people good people. He came to make dead people alive people. #holcomb
 
We become what we teach and what we learn. #godin
 
The best defense to the lies we hear from within our hearts is the rehearsal of truth – scripture. #keller
 
People are hungry for truth in this post-truth, post-fact culture, especially when it’s harder than ever to discern fact from fiction, reality from conspiracy theory. #jonestreet
 
FYI:
1. How we can minister to children who come from households with same-sex parents… http://childrensministry.com/articles/johnny-two-moms/?utm_source=internal_children’s_ministry_resource&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=
2. Depression… http://www.today.com/health/depression-s-not-word-depressed-teens-use-t111162
3. Classes teaching Millennials how to be adults… https://cassandra.co/life/2017/04/20/adulthood-101
4. The gender options on Facebook… (below)
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Bullied in 5th Grade, Prone to Drug Abuse by High School by Valerie Earnshaw
Anxiety in Teens – How to Help a teenager Deal With Anxiety by Karen Young
Competing Worldviews Influence Today’s Christians by David Kinnaman (Barna Group)
Young Americans Are Killing Marriage by Ben Steverman
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.videosforyouth.com/mini-movies/14675/the-marshmallow-test?utm_source=vfynl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=resource2&utm_campaign=nl-05/12/2017-2099879
 
http://www.videosforyouth.com/mini-movies/26033/temptation?utm_source=vfynl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=resource1&utm_campaign=nl-05/12/2017-2099879
 
Here are 2 just for you:

Give Them Themselves

And [the Angel] said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28)

Team members always love and admire a person who is able to help them go to another level, someone who enlarges them and empowers them to be successful.

Players who enlarge their teammates have several things in common.

  1. Enlargers value their teammates: People’s performances usually reflect the expectations of those they respect.
  2. Enlargers know and relate to what their teammates value: Players who enlarge others understand what their teammates value. That kind of knowledge, along with a desire to relate to their fellow players, creates a strong connection between teammates.
  3. Enlargers add value to their teammates: An enlarger looks for the gifts, talents, and uniqueness in other people, and then helps them to increase those abilities for their benefit and for that of the entire team.
  4. Enlargers make themselves more valuable: You cannot give what you do not have. If you want to increase the ability of a teammate, make yourself better.

Three Things You’ll Have to Say to the World to Live a Surrendered, Godly Life by J. Warner Wallace 

1 John 2:15
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

I know I’m just as likely as anyone else to love the world rather than the Father, so I consistently challenge my desires in three specific areas. I bet these aspects of life have tempted you as well, and if you’re a Christian leader, these are particularly important areas of concern. All of us, as good Christian ambassadors, need to speak to these challenges on a daily basis to resist the worldliness that threatens our character:

“I Will Not Allow Myself to Be Impressed with Money or Stuff”
I can’t allow money to dictate my choices. I’ve got to separate my “wants” from my “needs,” and recognize I already have everything I “need”; it’s time to get some control over my list of “wants”. I can either decide to chase the stuff I “want” and hope to be content once I get there, or decide to be content with what I already have. The older I get, the more I realize the pursuit of money and materialism has little or no relationship to happiness. Contentment is a choice. When the pursuit of money or stuff is removed from my decision making process, my decisions are far more Godly.

“I Will Not Allow Myself to Be Captivated by Lust or Passion”
We’re living in a sexualized culture that consumes our time and attention. The age of innocence is dangerously low; our kids are exposed to concepts and ideas at an early age. By the time we’re adults, unrestricted sexual or relational desire is a real danger, and it’s been the cause of many fallen Christian ministries and leaders. This is all about resisting the first step, the initial glance, and the early temptation. I need to be careful to guard my eyes and heart in this area if I hope to make Godly decisions.

“I Will Not Allow Myself to Be Fascinated by Fame or Influence”
The Internet has given all of us the potential for global impact and influence. It’s easy to get caught up in how many people “like” a post on our Facebook page, post a response to our blog entry, or visit our website. All of us, whether we choose to admit it or not, want to be known and heard. We’re enamored with celebrities who have the attention of the culture. We admire people who create videos that go viral. We secretly long for similar fame and attention. As my own career drew the attention of television producers and publishing houses, I knew it had the potential to derail my priorities. I can’t allow myself to make decisions based on how many people I can reach, even with something as valuable as the Gospel. Instead, I need to be faithful and content with the scope of influence God has given me.

If I want “the love of the Father” in me, I simply need to say “no” in three distinct areas of worldly temptation. God has already provided abundantly, but I am often unappreciative. He’s given me the money and material items I need, a wonderful relationship with my wife, and a mission field appropriate to my abilities. It’s my choice now to speak to my worldly desires; I’ve got to learn to say “enough is enough.” If you’re an ambassador for Christ, keep talking to the culture and speaking to your worldly desires. The difference between worldliness and Godliness is often product of this ongoing conversation.

LGBT+

Ever wondered why Facebook has so many gender options or what any of the letters in LGBTQQIP2SAA mean? The initialisms are as varied as the community they represent, and keeping up with the changes or what they mean can be hard. Yet knowing them can better prepare us for interacting with and ministering to the community, as well as for discipling teens through the issues they present.

Here are the official definitions of the 11 types of people represented by the letters. (Keep in mind that many consider “sexual orientation”—what sex/gender one is attracted to—as distinct from “gender identity”—what gender one identifies with.)

  • L = Lesbian, a female who is sexually attracted to other females.
  • G = Gay, a male who is sexually attracted to other males; also used as a general term for homosexual attraction.
  • B = Bisexual, someone who is attracted to both males and females.
  • T = Transgender, someone who identifies with a different gender than the one they were biologically born with.
  • Q = Queer, an umbrella term for anyone who doesn’t identify as cisgender or heterosexual, but who also may not identify as lesbian or gay and therefore prefers this broader, more ambiguous term.
  • Q = Questioning, someone who is unsure about their gender identity and/or their sexual orientation.
  • I = Intersex, someone whose sex characteristics (chromosomes, gonads, hormones, genitals) do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies (aka hermaphrodites).
  • P = Pansexual, someone is attracted to anyone of any sex or gender identity (aka “gender blind”).
  • 2S = Two-Spirit (used by some indigenous North Americans), someone who has both male and female spirits within them
  • A = Asexual, someone who lacks sexual attraction/desire to anyone.
  • A = Ally, someone who identifies as straight and cisgender but still wants to support those who don’t.

Other terms to know:

  • Cisgender = someone who identifies with the gender into which they were born.
  • U = Unsure, someone who is unsure of which gender they identify with or which gender they are attracted to.
  • C = Curious, someone who’s willing to explore their options.

Blessings, Kendall